Some of South Florida’s Most Wanted are White-Collar Criminals
A recent report indicated that some of South Florida’s most wanted criminals are not murderers or robbers – instead, they are white-collar criminals. The Sunshine State’s problems with white-collar crime are nothing new. In fact, one news report indicated that Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties have been notorious havens for individuals attempting to scam and defraud others for at least the past ten years. The report also found:
- Florida ranked number one in total number of identity theft complaints in 2013 with 193 complaints per 100,000 residents;
- Miami’s ratio of identity theft complaints per total number of residents was even worse: 340 complaints per 100,000 residents; and
- One of the most popular scams in Florida right now is identity theft coupled with income tax fraud.
Facts About White-Collar Crimes
The term “white-collar crime” generally refers to a criminal act that is (1) nonviolent; and (2) financially motivated. (A “blue-collar” crime would therefore be any criminal act that lacks both of these characteristics, i.e., it is either violent but also financially motivated, such as a robbery or violent home burglary, or it is nonviolent but not financially motivated, such as drug possession). The term first appeared in 1939 and was used to denote a crime carried out by a person of repute or some social status in the course of his or her occupation.
There are a variety of “white-collar” crimes today. In addition to identity theft, some of the more common types of white-collar crime include:
- Blackmail: Demanding money or property from others and threatening to harm the person, privacy, or reputation of the victim if the demands are not met;
- Computer fraud: Obtaining private information such as Social Security numbers and bank account numbers by accessing a computer or computer network without permission;
- Bribery: Offering money or something of value to another in exchange for that person’s promise to take a certain action or decline to take a certain action.;
- Embezzlement: Occurs when a person takes money entrusted to him or her for the benefit of another but who then uses the money for his or her own benefit; and
- Healthcare Fraud: An unlicensed medical provider submits a false claim for reimbursement for medical services or a healthcare provider bills an insurance provider for procedures that were not actually performed.
You Need Legal Counsel if You Are Charged with a White-Collar Crime
You may be tempted to think that because white-collar crimes are nonviolent that they are not punished as severely as other crimes. While it is true that blackmail or identity theft is not punished in the same manner as murder, a white-collar crime can still be punished by heavy fines and long prison sentences.
For this reason, you should treat a white-collar crime charge seriously. Retain experienced criminal defense counsel immediately. White-collar criminal defense lawyer Jeffrey S. Weiner has successfully represented numerous clients charged with white-collar crimes and knows how to hold the prosecution to its burden of proof. Call his office at (305) 670-9919 or contact his office online to discuss your case today.